LINCOLNTON – The Lincoln County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved an industrial incentive grant for Unox Inc. at its Sept. 19 meeting.

Unox is an Italian maker of commercial ovens, and its United States headquarters is currently in Pennsylvania. The company requested the grant to assist them in relocating those headquarters to Lincoln County, Craig Goodson, new business manager with the Lincoln Economic Development Association, told the commissioners.

Unox has bought the shell building in Arlie Business Park as well as the eight-acre site adjacent to it, and the company plans to build a 150,000-square-foot manufacturing facility on that site, Goodson said.

According to the agreement, Unox would invest $4 million, and the county would provide cash grants of $14,893 each year for a five-year period.

The headquarters will start out with five employees, and that number is expected to grow substantially, Goodson said.

Cliff Brumfield, executive director of the Lincoln Economic Development Association, thanked the board for their approval.

“When Lincoln County makes investments in an industrial park or a spec building, it helps grow our tax base because other industries come in, and their taxes help pay for essential services, and this building did just that,” he said, “I wanted to tell you, not just as LEDA’s director, but as somebody who owns property in Lincoln County, thank you for helping keep my taxes low.”

Sewer pumps

Don Chamblee, director of public works, presented plans for improvements to pumps five and six, which are on Lake Shore Road South, at the commissioners’ work session earlier in the day.

Hydrogen sulfide has damaged the metal, so the department will seek to re-line and rebuild any damaged areas, Chamblee said. Not addressing the issue could lead to failure of the stations, resulting in sewer spills into the lake.

At the regular meeting, commissioners voted unanimously to approve the department’s request to enter into a contract with W.K. Dickson for the rehabilitation of the pumps.

Gas shortage

County Manager Kelly Atkins addressed the gas shortage and informed the commissioners that he planned to ground all non-essential county vehicles.

“Hopefully by this weekend the problem will be solved, but it may be next week before everything comes back online fully, so I feel like it’s probably in the best interest of all if we ground all non-essential personnel at least at this point,” he said.

Atkins said he had also worked out an arrangement with the school system to secure 1,000 gallons for emergency services.

Zoning applications  

The Planning Board recommended four zoning applications for approval, and the board approved all of them, including amendments to the unified development ordinance and a request to add six duplexes to an apartment complex near the southern end of Triangle Circle near N.C. 16 Business.

Public comments

After a lengthy public hearing process regarding an amendment to a Westport zoning application, county officials received thanks for their involvement in the matter.

Patty Korn, a Westport resident who spoke at public hearings over the summer, spoke to the commissioners during the public comment section of the meeting.

“Normally when I speak at one of these meetings I come to ask for your help to resolve a problem in the county, such as roadside litter, which is still a problem,” Korn said. “But tonight I came to say thank you.”

Korn specifically thanked Commissioner Martin Oakes and Randy Hawkins, Andrew Bryant and Jeremiah Combs with the county’s planning and inspections department.

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